Plans to build 95 new affordable homes on the site of a poor quality building in Upney were approved last night at Barking and Dagenham Council’s planning committee tonight (3 June). 

The development at Sebastian Court, which being managed for the Council by Be First, the Council’s regeneration company, will provide a mixture of one and two bedroom Council homes together with a large community room.  

Councillor Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said the plans show the borough is moving on up. 

He said: “The new Sebastian Court development epitomises what we’re trying to achieve in the borough. Delivering high quality, 100% affordable publicly owned homes for ordinary, working people.” 

Pat Hayes, Managing Director of Be First, said: “Sebastian Court became a notorious eyesore so I am delighted we can now move on and start building well-designed homes on the site.   

“They’ll provide much-needed new homes for local people and significantly improve the local environment.” 

Plans to redevelop the monolithic slab design Sebastian Court originated in 2016 when it became apparent that the flats were not only very unpopular but were also expensive to repair and maintain, attracting high levels of anti-social behaviour.   

In response, the design for the new flats consists of three attractive blocks, staggered to allow better natural light and easier movement from the street, together with an ‘active frontage’ which will reduce the possibility of anti-social behaviour.  A children’s playground and striking green planting will also improve the local landscape. 

The homes are designed to be bright and airy, each with a balcony and large windows on at least two sides with raised ceiling heights to allow extra light.  High quality insulation, onsite CHP power generation and roof-mounted photo-voltaic panels will also keep fuel bills low and reduce the buildings’ carbon footprint.  

The approved scheme adds to the growing pipeline of new affordable housing within the borough. The original Sebastian Court building contained 65 flats, of which only 59 were occupied in 2016. Every one of the 95 new flats will be affordable, increasing the Council’s stock of sub market rate housing on the site by almost a third. The Council will let 33 flats to tenants at affordable rents, 29 at London affordable rent and offer the remaining 33 for shared ownership. 

The contractors, Jerram Falkus, are expected to start building works in December 2019 and complete by early 2021.

Notes to editors: 

London Affordable Rent for 2018/19 equates to £158.84 a week for a two bedroom flat.